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Maryland's season ends with NCAA tournament loss to Xavier

Maryland's season ends with NCAA tournament loss to Xavier

By TERRANCE HARRIS

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Trevon Bluiett scored 21 points and Sean O'Mara had 18 to help No. 11 seed Xavier upset sixth-seeded Maryland 76-65 during the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday night.

The Musketeers move on in the West region, marking the third straight year they have advanced to the second round. Maryland, which has started three freshmen for much the season, lost in the first round for the first time since 1997.

After a slow start, Bluiett came through with 18 second-half points to help the Musketeers rally from an early 6-point deficit. Bluiett converted seven field goals, including five 3-pointers to energize Xavier.

Freshman Kevin Huerter led the Terps with 19 points while star guard Melo Trimble had 13 points, but made only one-third of his shots.

Xavier took control midway through the second half as Maryland went scoreless for nearly 5 minutes while Xavier pushed its lead to 61-50 with 9:03 left. Bluiett hit three 3-pointers during the 14-0 run.

The Musketeers led by as many as nine points in the first half, but were hurt by turnovers that Maryland used to rally for 12 points. Trimble stole the ball from Quentin Goodin at midcourt and raced for a fast break basket, giving Maryland a 36-35 lead just before halftime.

SLOW START

Despite a sluggish start by Bluiett, the Musketeers managed to build a sizeable lead in the first half. Bluiett missed his first seven shots and didn't convert his only field goal of the first 20 minutes until he converted a 3-pointer from the corner with 2:52 left to play in the first half. Bluiett was one for eight from the field and one for five from 3-point range, finishing the first half with three points, three rebounds, three steals and three turnovers in 19 minutes.

GODD LUCK ORLANDO

Xavier has won seven straight games in Orlando, which also include two neutral site tournament wins in the Advocare Invitational and Tire Pros Invitational.

BILL MURRAY SIGHTING

Actor Bill Murray was in attendance in support of Xavier. Murray's son, Luke Murray, is a second-year assistant coach for the Musketeers.

UP NEXT

Xavier will play the winner of the Florida Gulf Coast-Florida State game on Saturday at Amway Center.

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Why Maryland is a difficult place to play, according to ESPN analyst Jay Bilas

Why Maryland is a difficult place to play, according to ESPN analyst Jay Bilas

ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas knows all about the intensity Maryland basketball fans bring. The former Duke Blue Devil experienced it first-hand when his team would travel to College Park for games inside Cole Field House. 

The Xfinity Center replaced Cole Field House in 2002, just months after the Terps won the NCAA championship. But Bilas knows the short move across campus didn't take away any of the fanfare. 

"This has always been a really passionate fan base. It is a difficult place to play, but it's a fun place to play," Bilas told reporters Friday. "If you've come here and play well and can withstand what you're going to be called and hear and all that stuff, you know you can handle [anything]."

Bilas and the rest of ESPN's "College GameDay" crew will be in College Park on Saturday for the show that broadcasts from 11 a.m. to noon in front of what's sure to be a spirited audience. The live show serves as the precursor for No. 9 Maryland's matchup with No. 24 Michigan State at 8 p.m. 

Maryland has used its passionate home base to go 15-0 inside the Xfinity Center this season. Since the Terps joined the Big Ten conference in the 2014-15 season, they have gone 92-13 at home. 

This is the second time in two weeks that GameDay features the Maryland vs. Michigan State matchup. The Terps traveled to East Lansing, Michigan, and beat the Spartans on Feb. 15 behind a 14-0 run, keyed by three consecutive 3-pointers from Anthony Cowan, to erase a late seven-point deficit for a 67-60 win. 

College GameDay's appearance in College Park is the first since 2005, the first year of the show's existence. On that day 15 years ago, Maryland beat then-No. 7 Duke 99-92 in overtime. 

"I've been telling everyone, [if] we bring College GameDay to College Park, it will be absolutely epic," ESPN commentator Seth Greenberg said in a Twitter video. "Because one thing about these Maryland fans, they are passionate about their Terps."

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In the Loop: Gretzky's best Bieber impression, Maryland stuns Minnesota

In the Loop: Gretzky's best Bieber impression, Maryland stuns Minnesota

To keep you In the Loop with the greatest sports moments going on around the sports world, we'll first take it to Goodyear, Arizona.

If you ever wondered what else goes on during spring training other than baseball, Cleveland Indians pitcher Ethan Hankins gave us a glimpse with this video of the guys working on their basketball skills. These are some well rounded athletes, but how many times did it take them to nail this one?

Next up, on Wednesday night Maryland basketball stunned Minnesota 74-73 after Darryl Morsell sank a 3-point shot with 1.9 seconds left in a game the Terrapins trailed by as much as 17. Following the game, Morsell hugged his mom and some fans, then he partied hard in the lockeroom with his team. Maryland is now 23-5 and sits 2 games ahead of Penn State and Michigan State in the Big 10 standings.

And lastly, Justin Bieber recently showed off his hockey skills on Instagram on his private plane. Well, check out Wayne Gretzky, the Great One, doing the same exact thing. Now this is a challenge Biebs should want no part of.